Forum begins discussions on enforcement of REACH
The Forum for Exchange of Information on Enforcement discussed in its meeting in Helsinki on 2-4 December enforcement of REACH in the Member States after the end of the pre-registration period. The Forum adopted the project manual for the first coordinated REACH enforcement project which will be carried out in 2009.
The Forum noted that not all Member States had managed to finalise their penalty legislations by 1 December 2008. For the first time, the Forum also held an open session where it listened to expectations of the stakeholder organisations.
Starting its third meeting only one day after the pre-registration deadline, the Forum discussed different aspects and practicalities of enforcement of pre-registration provisions. It agreed on its first coordinated enforcement project which will focus on pre-registration, registration and Safety Data Sheets for phase-in substances.
The key target groups of the project will be manufacturers, importers and only-representatives appointed by non-EU manufacturers. The project will be carried out by more than 20 Member States, Norway and Iceland. Its implementation will begin in the first half of 2009. The Forum has also agreed on the need for a second coordinated enforcement project which is foreseen for 2010.
The Forum noted that not all Member States had managed to finalise their penalty legislations by 1 December 2008. According to REACH Article 126 on penalties for noncompliance, the Member States should have notified to the European Commission their provisions on penalties for non-compliance with REACH by 1 December.
To lay down common basis for the enforcement of REACH, the Forum also adopted a general enforcement strategy which could be used by the Member States as a framework for developing their national strategies. This document will be published later on ECHA website. The Forum also decided to continue its coordination activities by developing minimum criteria for REACH inspections.
The Forum has initiated liaisons with stakeholders by hosting during the meeting an open session which was attended by 10 stakeholder organisations. A similar session was also decided to be held at the next meeting in April and at least on a yearly basis in future. To increase its capacities and make use of existing experience the Forum also decided on cooperation with three other European enforcement networks.
During the meeting, the Forum further agreed on the common enforcement issues to be included in the Member State reports to the Commission on the operation of REACH on their territories; the agreement will allow the enforcement authorities to start collecting data for the upcoming report. The Forum also discussed different possibilities for IT support for the inspectors.
It was decided to investigate the requirements for the system for exchange of information between REACH inspectors in the Community and to continue the work on the access of inspectors to data from REACH-IT. The Forum decided that its Work Programme will be revised to include the upcoming Regulation on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (CLP Regulation) after its publication and the advice on enforceability of proposals for restrictions under REACH.
Due to the growing number of activities the Forum will meet more often as of 2009, with its next plenary meeting planned for April 2009. The working groups of the Forum will work between the plenary sessions dealing with the management of the enforcement project, preparations for the second coordinated project, investigation of the information exchange system for inspectors, minimum criteria for inspection and access of inspectors to data from REACH-IT.
European Chemical Agency